I will make you a website for $100

29 12 2010

To all the restaurants out there that don’t have a website: I WILL MAKE YOU A WEBSITE FOR $100. No, seriously. I’m sick and tired of looking up information for a restaurant (location, proper name, hours, menu) and having Yelp and AllMenus.com and Urbanspoon be my only window into your facility.

I am grateful that you have dedicated all of your resources and money to the process of creating and maintaining your facility and striving to please the customers who patronize it. Really, I am. But the internet is a proverbial untapped mine of customers, an unsailed ship of knowledge, an unused soap box outside the biggest train station in the world for you to preach the goodness of your business. And for some reason you’re not using it?

Why?

Because it’s expensive to make a website? Because it’s difficult? Because you don’t have the time or money or effort to deal with it? I beg you, please let me make you one. There are tools and resources now that allow pretty much anyone to make a simple website, no fancy coding or savvy internet knowledge required. Here, see some websites I’ve made. All free. All designed using templates and drag and drop buttons. Easier than the pie you serve every weekday.

  • Website #1: Is for a new bar about to open in Hayward
  • Website #2: Documents a trip to Tasmania
  • Website #3: Showcases my totally awesome writing business
  • Website #4: Is for an engineering firm in San Luis Obispo

Every business should have a website. Even if it’s crappy. Even if it’s bare bones. Even if it cost nearly nothing. If you’re scared of the interwebs, just don’t have the time to figure it out or don’t want to pay someone $1000 to make you a sweet custom site, I will help you. For $100 I will make you a site that functions, looks decent, and has the basic information your customers want. I will show you how to use this website so that you can make changes later. For a little bit extra, I’ll drum up some snazzy words to make you sound as great as your food tastes.

I do this not to solicit business for myself. I have a job. I do this for the good of the community. We need you to have a website so that we can hear from you exactly what you serve, when you serve it and how the heck to get to your restaurant. Please, for the good of the internet and for the sanity of your customers, put up a teeny tiny, mildly informative, barely functional website so that we can all get a minuscule glimpse into your place before we get there.

Thank you.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.





Mua

19 12 2010
Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  Two  ♦   Will I Return?:  Sure
___________

Is it pronounced like what a cow says (mooo-a) or the way you say “me” in French (excusez-moi)?? I don’t know and, frankly, it doesn’t much matter since you pretty much get the gist either way. However you want to say it, Mua is located on Webster Street just next to 25th and Broadway in Oakland. This is one of these in-between neighborhoods that’s slowly growing to add to Oakland’s awesomeness — there are a some vacant building and unidentifiable/run-down businesses mushed in with sweet converted lofts, tiny art studios and chic restaurants and bars. Mua sort of dabbles a bit in all three of these latter fab categories.

Inside Mua

The main seating area of Mua seen from the stairs up to the mezzanine.

Mainly a restaurant space, Mua has a huge, open indoor space with a mezzanine where diners can enjoy the polished concrete floors, super high ceilings and artsy, graffiti-esque wall decorations. It’s a bit loud due to the vast cavern-like nature of the room, but it’s extremely lively and the waiters are all super “hip” with styled hair and posh tattoos.

Let’s talk food. I’ve been here twice and both times I’ve only partaken in the “small plates”. This is because the choices are awesome and I love sharing food. Here are the things I’ve tasted:

  • Caesar salad (standard, but yum)
  • Fried feta cheese-stuffed olives (as good as they sound)
  • Brussel sprouts with brown butter (yum!)
  • “Mac and Cheese” made with butternut squash and no cheese (amazing)
  • Shiitake mushrooms on crostini bread with herb goat cheese (delish)
  • Grilled prawns in butter (good)

    Mua food

    Cheese-less mac and cheese, shiitake mushrooms and fried olives.

Uh, yeah, see where I’m going here? Awesome choices. And I didn’t even get a bite of the tomato bisque and mini grilled cheese or beet salad or crispy tofu in black bean chili sauce yet. Wouldn’t mind swinging back for a nibble on those.

And for the meat eaters there’s stuff like broccolini with fingerling potatoes and bacon, chicken skewers, ahi tuna sashimi, fried chicken, blackened catfish…the list goes on and on. Most of those are main courses, however (although that’s not delineated on their website) not small plates. But still, yum, right? Total yum, as my mom would say.

Oh holy lord, let’s not forget the bread pudding!! I would never order such a thing, but I can’t get my way (read: chocolate cake) every dang time and sometimes I must relinquish. I am glad I did. This bread pudding — admittedly not anything like traditional bread pudding at all — was fabulous. Warm, tender cake with raspberries and sauce sprinkled on top — it was heavenly.

Mua Bread Pudding

Bread pudding topped with raspberries...mmmm....

They also have fun drinks and a full bar with a sweet happy hour that has specials on some of the foods as well as drinks. And supposedly they have a live DJ (sooo much better than a dead one, let me tell you) every night but Monday, though I don’t see how I missed this person both times I was there.

Drinks!

Some fun drinkie-pies at Mua.

It’s not the cheapest place in town, but I think it’s a good deal for the quality and creativity of the food, the lively atmosphere and the great location. If you’re out in Oakland, swing by Mua for a good time and great food!

Mua on Urbanspoon





Kokyo Sushi Buffet

5 12 2010
Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value: 4/5
Times Visited:  One  ♦   Will I Return?:  For Sure
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KokyoThat’s right, this is the new sushi buffet place in Hayward! If you’re a Hayward-ite, you’ve driven by this numerous times; it’s the corner spot on the 2nd floor of the new shops surrounding the movie theater on B Street. And if you’re not in Hayward often, now you know that we have something mildly awesome — buffet sushi!

Let’s talk logistics. How does a sushi buffet work? I was skeptical because if there aren’t any patrons, the stuff sits there. And that’s no good with any food, let alone raw fishies. We went on a Sunday night and it was packed by the time we left (we were there early), and it’s been pretty full every time I’ve driven by. So, that will keep the food fresh right there, as long as it’s fresh to begin with.

seating

Inside the seating area of Kyoko

Which brings up the second concern. Is the food fresh? The buffet is pretty cheap — $15 per person for dinner — which didn’t give me a whole lot of faith in the quality. I mean, sashimi is expensive and here I can eat all I want. How are they making money? I think I figured it out. The sashimi is good — not Genghix good, but way better than Safeway* — but I don’t think everyone is eating it. About half of the buffet is standard Chinese style hot dishes — chow mein, fried rice, broccoli beef, egg rolls, sweet and sour shrimp — which is considerably cheaper to make and more filling to eat. Add a bunch of cheap, fatty, greasy foods and, voilà, you’re back on budget with your sushi buffet.

buffet

"Chinese food" area of the buffet

Not to say that the food there is bad…everyone loves fatty and greasy. And if you’re not in the mood, that’s what the sushi is for. Boyfriend and I consumed a fair amount of sashimi (raw fish by itself) and a few types of sushi (fish on a ball of rice) along with a few other things (baked scallops, edamame, fried coconut shrimp, asparagus). We thought it was great!

Let’s go over the layout. There are 5 or so main stations of food:

  • Appetizers: edamame, seaweed salad, other stuff
  • Salad: green salad mix, crab legs, shrimp, hard boiled eggs, dressing, misc fixings
  • Sashimi: tuna, salmon, butter fish, seared ahi, a few others
  • Sushi: plain sushi (raw fish on rice ball), fancy rolls (California rolls with extra stuff inside and/or on top), and deep fried rolls (they sort of taste like donuts!)
  • Seafood: more crab legs, coconut fried shrimp, baked scallops, oysters, clams, grilled salmon
  • Chinese food: the stuff I mentioned before (chow mein, fried rice, broc beef, sweet and sour whatever, etc.)
  • Fruit & Dessert: variety of fruits (bananas, apples, melon, oranges, etc.), pudding, tapioca, jell-o, soft serve, donuts, cakes, tarts, etc.
    japanese appetizers

    Appetizer area

    deep fried sushi

    Deep fried sushi rolls taste like donuts

sushi

Sushi/sashimi area

seafood

Part of the seafood area: oysters and crab legs

fruit buffet

Fruit area

I love buffets because I love choosing things. Pictures of our plates are below. Summary of foods eaten: the edamame was good, though not warm (darn!); seaweed salad was really good; sashimi was great (especially considering the price); I didn’t love the sushi rolls I tried, so stuck with the sashimi; baked scallops were really just baked seafood and were ok; the veggies in the Chinese area were fine, didn’t try much else.

Sushi

Plate 'o fish, yummmm

sushi plates

I had 3 plates, bf had 4...notice a pattern?

And as for the best and the worst? The miso soup was the worst I’ve ever had, which was surprising. The boxed kind from Trader Joe’s is better, seriously. But, the donuts in the dessert area (sadly, this is where I focused at the sushi place) were amazing. I usually don’t even go for dessert at an Asian place (sorry to stereotype, but it’s true), but these were heavenly.

donuts

Best donut-things ever!

Overall, I think this place was nice. It was strange to get a view of Hayward from a 2nd story commercial building (see below), I couldn’t think of a time this has ever happened before. The patrons were a step up from the Hometown Buffet, the atmosphere was nice, the spread was exciting, and the sushi was definitely good. I recommend this place if you like sushi/sashimi and/or Chinese food!

view of hayward

View down B Street from a window seat at Kyoko

*Yes, sometimes I get the sushi packs at Safeway for lunch at work. They make them fresh, there’s high turn over and I’ve never felt ill afterward. The sushi they use just isn’t the best; it’s not terribly tasty.








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